You can find investigative reports on macroeconomics and research papers concerning public policy and management.
The 2012 accident at Sasago Tunnel on the Chuo Expressway has led, in a significant way, to a growing sense of crisis about the aging of many of the public facilities and infrastructure that were constructed in the 30-year period from the time of rapid economic growth in the 1960s and 1970s into the 1980s. In 2013, the national government created the Basic Plan for Extending the Lifespan of Infrastructure, which immediately led the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) to request that local governments create a comprehensive management plan for public facilities and infrastructure that would apply to all such facilities they owned. MIC also issued guidelines for creating the plan. However, many local governments are having a hard time meeting the request. As efforts are being made nationwide at a significant pace, any differences that might arise in local government responses would potentially become a bottleneck in promoting the management of public facilities and infrastructure across the entire country.
The author has worked for Saitama City (limited-term appointment) and has promoted the city’s efforts to manage its public facilities and infrastructure as leader of the task. The city is regarded as one of the leading examples of public facility management in Japan, and on the MIC’s website the city’s work is the first example of creating a comprehensive management plan for public facilities and infrastructure mentioned. Based on his hands-on experience, the author discusses concrete, practical measures that local governments can take to promote feasible public facility management.
The most important factor of speedy, effective management is consensus building among the public, assembly, and local government. The situation of aging public facilities and infrastructure is a grave one, but merely asserting how things should be would give rise to opposition and resistance and make local governments take a circuitous way to achieving their goals. It is important for local governments to always heed consensus building at each phase in their efforts and to constantly promote them with public involvement.